The Student News Site of Bridgewater College

Gianni Maltese

The flags are positioned at half-staff behind the Kline Campus Center. The tragic events that occurred exactly a year ago this past Wednesday are the reason the flags are in this position.

Staying BC Strong One Year Later

Even though it has been a year, there are days when it seems like yesterday.

Bridgewater, Va.- A year ago on Feb. 1, the Town of Bridgewater experienced one of the most senseless acts of violence, and as a student athlete, I understand the privilege of playing my sport, and the importance of being BC Strong.

Personally, I heard something at 1:15 p.m. that sometimes I still find difficult to forget. My entire argument and debate class held in Memorial Hall heard gunshots while I was sitting in pain with my pillow behind me from having spinal surgery in December. We were all struck dumbfounded and unable to fathom what we had just heard.

Some people are unaware of the what-if scenarios that led to the tragic events of Feb. 1. Since the shooting occurred on our campus, this is the first time I have been vulnerable.

 I used to worry constantly about what others would think if I was open about how much it has affected me this past year, both on the field and in the classroom.

J.J. Jefferson and John Painter placed their lives on the line that day and died to keep our students, staff and educators safe, for which I am eternally grateful.

Many students who attend Bridgewater College chose the institution for the benefits of our athletic programs. On our best days, it makes education that much more enjoyable, and because of them, even on our worst days, we still have that outlet.

While melancholy, the BC Strong women’s basketball game was one of the most empowering sporting events I have ever seen. Taking place a year later in our own jam-packed Nininger Hall, our entire community came together to celebrate our heroes. 

BC Strong is who we are.

Along with the added benefit of defeating Washington and Lee, the top team in the ODAC, the women’s basketball team allowed us to embrace one another in commemoration of their lives.

“Everyone on the team had a distinct experience of that day,” said sophomore basketball player India Dailey. “We all agreed that Feb. 1 is greater than just us and that we need to guard our house just like they protected Bridgewater.”

It is up to us to continue to remember their sacrifices that day as individuals and as members of our wonderful Bridgewater community, not simply as athletes.

Among the student athletes attending the BC Strong game on Wednesday was junior Vincent Marra, a member of the soccer team. 

“For student athletes, it truly makes us all appreciate how fortunate we are to continue playing our sports,” said Marra. “While at the BC Strong game, it was quite touching to see all the teams present to support the athletes who competed on Feb. 1 and to show their appreciation for the officers.”

Everyone’s experiences over the past year have been unique. Never be scared to accept that it is okay to struggle and that, in the grand scheme of things, we still get the chance to experience each day thanks to our heroes.

God bless Jefferson, Painter and their families. I want to thank you all and say that their sacrifices need to be honored every single day. Words cannot express the sacrifices our campus witnessed on Feb 1.

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